Why Are Multi-Writer Weblogs More Popular?

In Seth Godin’s Fiddleheads post, he raises an excellent point about developing a market. In his analogy, he points out that in any marketplace, say a Farmers Market, each booth owner is thinking that they’d do better if they were the only booth of their kind in the market. This feeling is echoed, Seth says, pretty much anywhere, but “this reasoning is fallacious”.

No doubt, bloggers often feel the same way, but I think that if there are more than two blogs on a topic, that’s actually a good thing for everyone. In a similar but different situation, a blog with multiple writers is arguably going to do better than most blogs with just one writer.

There are many examples of this, including most of the Weblogs, Inc blogs. My own writing has recently started appearing on other people’s blogs by request, and on one website, I’m getting several hundred pageviews per post. In just a day or two. None of my blogs have individually received as many pageviews in a single day or two, despite writing my ass off for 11 months now – and even though I publish the same type of writing and topics on my own blogs.

Why is that? I think it’s pretty simple to answer. When there is more than one writer, there’s something for everyone. There is more fresh content daily, and variety. And when writers on one weblog inter-link to each other’s posts, it’s an invitation for their loyal readers to read the other writers. A synergy is built up. But if a weblog only has one writer, the success of it depends solely on the cult of personality that that writer can build up, regardless of what they are writing about and how often.

As much as it might sting, there aren’t many writers who can achieve this cult of personality. A FEW good examples of such types of writers – in no particular order – are Darren Rowse, Seth Godin, Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, Brian Clark, Yaro Starak, Steve Pavlina, Debbie Weil, and Guy Kawasaki.

The moral, for most bloggers, is that synergy is a good thing, but it is possible to be a successful soloist. You’ll note that every one of the above writers have regularly have something of value to tell their regular readers.

Know of any other solo bloggers who you think are developing their own cult of personality with their insightful writing?

12 thoughts on “Why Are Multi-Writer Weblogs More Popular?

  1. … for including me in such an illustrious list. I also see a noticeable jump in traffic when I cross-post to a group or multi-author blog to which I contribute. People only have so much time and attention. You gotta hit ’em everywhere they go online seeking whatever information they’re looking for. Just makes sense. – D

  2. Aw shucks. Thanks for the kind words, Liz, but I think I have a ways to go yet. My multiple-cult-of-personalities print magazine lost momentum when it went defunct, but maybe one day…

  3. Thanks Raj,
    I think Yaro’s right. Too many folks act like blogging is just slapping words on the screen and waiting for traffic. The magic happens when the brain is wired to the heart around the topic that someone is writing about. It happens a lot on this blog.

    PS. You handle the crowd like a master. I think you might think about adding yourself to the list very soon.

    Thanks Gary

  4. Yaro: thanks. Wonderful advice from the proverbial horse’s mouth. Well, one of the herd, anyway

  5. Cult of personality hey – so I’m a cult leader…hmm…I wonder if I can get them all to drink the shiny liquid 😉

    Good points. I believe anyone who puts their time into really projecting their personality into their blogging can develop the cult. Most just don’t bother, spend more time regurgitating other people’s news and forget to add the little personality magic. You gotsta have the magic.

    Okay, I’m going to bed now…

  6. TDavid: I was being graceful. I also was baiting I wanted exactly the type of comment you gave. Thank you for your take on this.

    Gary: Agreed

  7. Raj – I must respectfully disagree with this statement: “There are many examples of this, including *most* of the Weblogs, Inc blogs”

    I’d change the word “most” to “some” of the WIN blogs. I think once one gets past their flagship blogs like Engadget, Cinematical, TV Squad and a few others it gets to be slim pickings as far as quality. The Gawker network has a higher percentage of quality blogs than WIN. Clearly Denton is going for quality over quantity, unlike Calacanis and now AOL.

    It’s easy to make this assumption but really, how many of the WIN blogs do you read regularly? There are like 70 or so of them and I doubt that anybody reading this comment — who doesn’t work at WIN — is reading more than 35 of them, much less subscribed to them.

    As for 11 months of writing your ass off? Keep at it. I didn’t really start seeing some serious traffic until 18 months of writing my ass off.

  8. Thanks, Gary. Actually, I had Liz in my edited list, but it appears I copied the older version of my post.

  9. I would add Liz Strauss to that list of bloggers who have a dedicated following. She has some of the most devoted readers in the blogosphere.

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